About Fred Horowitz
I’m one of those individuals who’s out to save the world. Well, I’m exaggerating! However, I’m drawn to causes that impact the quality of life of individuals, organizations and the planet. Some people accuse me of being an idealist.
Any work I’ve chosen to do has been driven by my values and not the dollar. They include integrity, authenticity, fulfillment, vitality, personal power, collaboration, open and honest communication, freedom to choose, excellence, connnectedness, full self expression, quality of life, sufficiency, sustainability and personal development.
Why an offering on positive social impact?
In my 25 plus years of coaching hundreds of small business owners as well as my life experiences, I’m clear that contributing to others is a fundamental commitment common to humanity. I want my life to matter. You want your life to matter.
More and more small business owners have come to the realization that they need to take some action that will turn around the direction humanity is heading.
There’s a trend occurring at this time- the development of conscious capitalism and conscious business. Small business owners of all ages are taking this on. I’m one of those.
This seems to be especially the case with those of us who are transitioning into our 40s, 50s, 60s and above. We’re starting to come to terms with our mortality. Why not take advantage of a period of time in which we’re established within our careers, where we’re now in a position to give back and invent new expressions of work and leisure time?
My interest in this subject also stems from a business I co-founded, an online website, www.happiness-after-midlife.com with my ex partner, Dr. Frank Bonkowski, who continues to run the site.
As we developed the site, which is very rich in content, we interviewed a number of thought leaders who deal with meaningful work, “great work,” “doing good” and “conscious business.” Engaging with these leaders touched something in me in that I wanted to coach small business owners who had an interest in these areas. In my book, they’re playing a “game worth playing” and I want to be a part of that.
A smart rat
In my elder years, what some call “The Third Age” (about 45 to 75 years of age), I’ve been “around the block” a few times having gone through 7 career transitions as well as engaging in many personal, business and spiritual development programs.
It’s been clear to me that to really accelerate growth and development, it takes more than participating in programs and reading. That’s why, as a client I’ve worked with coaches at different times in my life- “you can’t change what you don’t see!” And equally important, I’ve come to see the importance of practice and rituals to sustain change.
Whatever I’ve done, my “central motivating pattern” has been a group of closely related skills and ways of being- teaching, coaching, facilitating, educating, counseling, mentoring, training consulting and deep listening.
So when I say “smart rat,” I’m not talking about my intelligence but my experience and wisdom. There’s a BIG difference between information, knowledge and wisdom. I have much wisdom to share.
Being a “smart rat,” has its downside and this also applies to me to some extent- it’s difficult for “smart rats” to be contributed to, which can block learning!
This video shows Julio Olalla, the founder of the Newfield Network and one of the leading pioneers of the coaching movement sharing his views on the distinction between wisdom and knowledge.
My view on leading a life of “integrity”
“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” Thoreau, Henry David
In my experience of having conversations and getting to know and work with hundreds of individuals, I’ve come to realize that most of us aren’t fulfilled in our lives. We’re engaged in activities that don’t necessarily nourish the soul. What I mean by that is that we’re not connected to who we are at deep level; we’re not expressing what’s unique for us to express.
At a more fundamental level, ultimately, we don’t know who we are. There’s a misidentification. Who we consider ourselves to be is our identity, as in “I ________.” This causes us to make choices that aren’t a good fit for what’s really important to us. I call this being out of integrity.
Being in integrity would be conducting our lives in such a way that whatever we did or how we were being would be a natural expression of who we really are.
I can speak to this from my own experience in choosing a profession (dentistry), which wasn’t a good fit for me. It took a transformational experience to get me back on track to leading a life of integrity and fulfillment.
My key teachable moments
In 1980, after completing what’s now known as the Landmark Education Forum, I retired from practicing dentistry because of poor vision. That was a twenty year investment – ten years at McGill University and ten years of practice. Being a dentist was fine, with the exception of one minor detail – I didn’t like working in peoples’ mouths. Oops!
More accurately, the strain of having zero depth perception caused me a great deal of stress.
Fortunately, I came across the book, “What Color Is Your Parachute” by Richard Bolles and that changed everything. What I discovered is that I most enjoyed teaching and coaching people. From that point forward, I went through 7 work transitions. Each career choice included my favourite two skills – coaching and facilitating.
For three years, I was a career coach, working independently using the Bolles principles. At the same time, I created a company called “The Wellness Project,” which offered well-being programs to organizations and to the public.
In 1986, I had the opportunity of working for three years for Werner Erhard and Associates, the predecessor of Landmark Education. It was a terrific experience. Much of my approach to life and coaching comes from the model that Landmark Education uses.
As an offshoot of Werner Erhard and Associates, The Hunger Project was created which at its time of creation in 1977 had as its mission, “the end of hunger on the planet by 1997.” I became a key person in Montreal in its development- a very active volunteer, as a briefing leader, fundraiser as well as being on the Canadian board of directors for a short period of time.
I married my passion for running and taking on a big cause like ending hunger by starting World Runners in Montreal and fund raising through running Marathons.
These experiences opened me up to a new world. I developed an interest in spirituality, especially the Eastern spiritual traditions, like Buddhism.
One of my friends introduced me to TM (Transcendental Meditation) and for ten years, I meditated for twenty minutes, twice a day. A few years later, I was introduced to the Shambhala Training and the Sivananda Yoga organizations, which have added deeply to the quality of my life. Buddhist meditation and yoga are integral parts of my daily routine. In my coaching sessions, I weave some spiritual notions into the conversations I have with my clients.
Another friend of mine, who was born in India wasn’t satisfied with his position as an engineer in a large Montreal-based firm. His heart and spirit weren’t into his work. He hired me as his coach. Within 6 months, he left his job and joined a financial services company, which was oriented around a cause. When I left Werner Erhard and Associates and being attracted to causes, I joined the same company. I learned much about managing my own money, while showing people how to make and save it.
The two friends, I refer to above, introduced me to the work of Deepak Chopra. We decided to form a company, Ayurvedic Technologies, Inc., which was based on the principles of Ayurveda, the ancient medical system of India. We developed a strategic alliance with Dr. Chopra and were successful both financially and spiritually.
My view on choosing “a path with heart”
Whatever I had engaged in since leaving dentistry was enjoyable. However, something was calling me. I felt I wasn’t expressing who I really was. So in 1996 I did an internet search on coaching and my first hit was Coach University. Based on the testimonials of teachers and students I interviewed, I enrolled and graduated.
The notion of “a path with heart” had resonated with me for many years. It came from the writings of Carlos Castaneda, who in his books talked about “warriorship.” It refers to listening to our hearts rather than our thinking in making wise choices.
I open up to working with coaches
I worked with 3 different coaches over a number of years to assist me in the transition process. Without coaching I would have had a much more difficult time in figuring out my “path with heart”.
Hiring a coach wasn’t easy for me. Like most people, I have a difficult time allowing people to contribute to me. “What do they know that I don’t already know?” “No one is going to tell me what to do!” Here I was, strongly recommending people to work with a coach, yet not having my own. Once I started working with coaches, I discovered how valuable the process was.
One of my coaches who I was working with at the start of my coaching career challenged me to start a BNI (Business Network International) chapter in Montreal. There were none. This seemed like a good way to develop business, so I took on the challenge and started one.
The experience was so positive that I went from being the president of the chapter to a BNI director for five years. I’m now considered to be an “expert” in networking and referral marketing- a “gate keeper;” a “hub firm,” an entity that is effective in connecting people and locating resources.
At the same time I introduced BNI to the Montreal community, I started the first chapter of the International Coach Federation (ICF), a bit miffed that many people were claiming to be coaches, without any training or little experience in coaching.
What are my passions?
My passions are running (I’ve been running consistently for 34 years), yoga, meditation, cycling, weight training, The Alexander Technique, transformation, life long learning; personal, spiritual, social and community development. I’m a vegan. I very much enjoy having meaningful conversations with people.
My carbon footprint is relatively low.
In 1980, I developed a relationship with Louise, one of my female patients. We became life partners until 1998 at which time we split. She remains my best friend!
Here are the kind of comments people express when referring to me…
“Fred is a mensch”
“Fred is one of the most trustworthy people I know.”
“While he can be a “P.I.T.A. (pain in the ass)” and not very subtle at times, he’s truly committed to people.”
“I don’t know what it is about him but I find myself sharing intimate things about myself that I wouldn’t normally share with others.”
“Fred has the rare ability to ‘call a spade, a spade'”
“Behind his serious exterior, he has a very good sense of humour.”